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BHS students participate, win in 2022 JA Entrepreneurial Youth Summit

BROCKPORT, NY – Thirteen Brockport High School [BHS] students traveled to Bryant & Stratton College in Greece, N.Y. to participate in the 2022 Junior Achievement [JA] Entrepreneurial Youth Summit.

Modeled after the hit TV show Shark Tank, the summit has been hosted in Rochester for over 50 years and, on Tuesday, November 29, BHS students joined approximately 100 other students, from eight different schools across Monroe County, to develop the skills they need to successfully give a proper business pitch, work as a team, and gain confidence in public speaking.

This field trip is part of an Entrepreneurism class which Mr. Mark Mutton took over last year. Having heard about this opportunity from Ms. Sue Sodoma, the Chair of the Brockport Business Department, the summit was quickly identified as an important learning experience for our students in a real-world setting.

“Having an understanding of the world of business and how economics works in business is important,” Mutton said. “Entrepreneurism is having the personality and passion of creating your own business or idea and growing it. Economics can certainly affect your business, but an entrepreneur’s leadership abilities will define whether that person will succeed or fail in that venture, regardless of the state of the economy.”

During the summit, students split into 17 teams and were joined by one of the 18 mentors who worked to help the groups craft their pitch for one of four judges, all of whom are successful entrepreneurs from the Greater Rochester Area. The judges went on to critique the groups based upon their creativity and overall idea, their communication skills, and their group’s participation.

“Our department has relationships with many different organizations, businesses and higher education institutions in order to provide our students with a vast number of hands-on experiences that relate to the classes we offer,” Mr. Mutton said. “Being able to offer a mixture of classroom education and actual hands-on opportunities are critical for BHS students to better understand what opportunities are available to them beyond high school.”

Though this is the first year Brockport has participated in the summit, three of the four teams that were selected to advance to the finals included a representative from Brockport– where they pitched their idea to their peers. Two of our students, Ethan Ruggles and Greg Rightmyer (pictured below) were part of the winning team, receiving a Rocketbook, a reusable notebook, for their pitch called “Design Lab,” a 3D body scanning application for clothing stores to help consumers have a better fitting experience.

While the summit was held virtually due to COVID-19; Vice President of Learning Experience for Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York Marie Kamp explained that they anticipate hosting three events in the Rochester area.

“There are students in Economics [classes], Business [classes], and even an English class is here because the skills you need to develop cross many different disciplines of learning,” Kamp said.

For attending the summit, the students will be eligible to apply for two scholarships, including a four-year full-ride scholarship from Syracuse University.

“I am excited about the opportunity to show students what they can accomplish when they apply themselves to something they have a passion for and desire to succeed in something bigger than themselves,” Mutton said. “Providing the learning tools and offering them an opportunity to experience the concepts in a real-life scenario is paramount to helping students know that is ok to take risks and fail. When we fail, we learn.”